• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Consider the language of 'Romeo and Juliet' and comment on the contribution to the plays success of Shakespeare's use of metaphor and simile, repetition and punning. Illustrate your answer with careful reference to the text

Extracts from this document...


Julia Cloke "Gibson says that Shakespeare, "brilliantly transformed whatever he worked on", through his use of language. Consider the language of 'Romeo and Juliet' and comment on the contribution to the plays success of Shakespeare's use of metaphor and simile, repetition and punning. Illustrate your answer with careful reference to the text". Shakespeare was fascinated by language. Throughout the play 'Romeo and Juliet', he uses words a tools to do his work and conjure images of every different emotion. Shakespeare unleashes the whole spectrum of emotions, always having at least two scenarios for each scene. These usually come from the characters and 'Romeo and Juliet' is rich in many different uses of language. The play 'Romeo and Juliet' is full of oppositions that beset the doomed lovers. In the prologue, we hear of an, "ancient grudge break to new mutiny." A clever use of language, oxymorons, highlight these oppositions. An oxymoron is usually a phrase, divided into two parts. Each part is contradictory to the other and the result is a phrase of striking expression. An example of this would be, "O loving hate." The words love and hate are opposite emotions, so when placed together they emphasise and heighten the feelings of Romeo, who is describing his love for Rosalind and Rosalind's failure to return his affections. Oxymorons are very useful for describing these contradictory states of feeling that people often experience in times of excitement, crisis, and stress. ...read more.


He goes on to say, " for this drivelling love is like a great natural that runs lolling up and down to hide his bauble in a hole." In this context, the word, "bauble," is used to mean penis and the word, "hole," refers to the vagina. Mercutio is really saying that love alone is simply love, but when love is used for sex, nature takes over. Love is merely the word that disguises the true intention of sex, making the action seem more romantic and less like an act of instinct and human nature. He says this confidence of his convictions. Yet Mercutio isn't the only character who uses punning to create or conceal atmosphere. In the very first scene of 'Romeo and Juliet', two Capulet servants are joking and boasting about their superiority to the Montagues. Sampson and Gregory are too making clever references to sex. Sampson: "I will be civil with the maids; I will cut off their heads. Gregory: "The heads of the maids?" Sampson: "Ay, the heads of the maids, or their maidenheads." Here Sampson has used the word, "maidenhead," in two meanings. Firstly it is another way of saying, "the heads of the maidens," but the words are simply reversed. However, what Sampson is really trying to convey is that he will take away the girl's virginity. "Maidenheads," is a polite word for virginity and here the Capulet servant is using it to describe to Gregory how the Capulet men are far better equipped than Montague men. ...read more.


We just don't notice that because these phrases have become so familiar, we don't think anything of it. In Act 2 Scene 2 Juliet says, "What's in a name?" referring to the obstacle of the two households in opposition to one another. This phrase is one of many throughout the play that is commonly used today. Also in Act 2, but this time in Scene 5 is the phrase, "as gentle as a lamb," spoken by the Nurse to compare Romeo to a creature of mild nature. She does this to describe to Juliet her feelings of the young man, and this phrase is a way of saying that she approves of him. Also phrases such as, "on a wild goose chase," and," where the devil?," are found in the play, all of which are still widely in use today. This shows just how much impact Shakespeare has had on the English language, to still be able to find phrases that are 400 years old in existence today. Not only this, but the wide, complex spectrum of emotions created by the words Shakespeare uses adds depth and underlying meaning to his characters and their situations. Love, hate, every single emotion, are illustrated through the many types of language found in the play 'Romeo and Juliet', such as metaphors, similes and puns. He even invents his own words; giving existing words new meanings and unexpected twists. I think Gibson is right when he says that Shakespeare, "brilliantly transformed whatever he worked on." 'Romeo and Juliet' is no exception. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Romeo and Juliet section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Romeo and Juliet essays

  1. The language in Romeo and Juliet is some of the most beautiful ever written. ...

    Another form of rhyming verse Shakespeare uses are sonnets which are a popular form of love poems when characters are talking to each other about love. They a made up in a certain pattern, a sonnet is a fourteen line, ten syllable love poem where the first eight lines rhyme and are then followed by a rhyming couplet.

  2. In Romeo and Juliet account for the changes that take place in the character ...

    This makes him very depressed and miserable. However, the love Romeo feels for her is hasty and unrequited. Furthermore, Romeo is not in love with Rosaline, he is in love with the idea of being in love. Romeo sees love as just beauty and looks; this is evident when he says 'o she is rich in beauty' when he is referring to Rosaline.

  1. Oppositions and Contrasts are Strikingly Common in Romeo and Juliet. Illustrate and Comment upon ...

    As the audience, we are constantly reminded of the bitterness felt by the older generation and the blinding hatred and prejudice seen in Verona's youths. Examples of this are seen throughout Romeo and Juliet. When the prince breaks up a fight that has occurred between the two opposing groups he

  2. Explore Shakespeare's use of language to emphasize the concept of oppositions in the play ...

    The effect of juxtaposing all these opposites is to show that Romeo is distressed and confused, he knows not what exactly he is feeling. The hatred within the play is expressed strongly by Tybalt and his anger at Romeo's presence at the feast.

  1. Violence and conflict are central to Romeo and Juliet. Discuss these themes with reference ...

    In this part of the play Mercutio begins to play around with Tybalt's wording. For example, Tybalt says: Tybalt: "Mercutio, thou consortest with Romeo." Meaning do you hang around with Romeo, Mercutio deliberately changes the meaning of the sentence, accusing Tybalt of calling them a company of hired musicians.

  2. With close Reference to the Language of Specific Characters, Explore the Different Attitudes to ...

    His language, though no longer overly elaborate, still has some Petrarchan qualities, though Romeo expresses his love positively rather than through depression, which informs the audience that his love is passionate and pure. His description of Juliet as "holy shrine" suggests that she is his world, his religion, his life, and "tender kiss" emphasises his caring love for her.

  1. How does Shakespeare use the idea of opposition as a dramatic device in 'Romeo ...

    But the audience are not prepared for this as they are expecting an extremely brief summary of the theme of the play but instead end up with finding out the whole story line. Although knowing what is going to happen they still watch the play through the amazement of what

  2. Early on Romeo remarks: 'Here's much to do with hate, but more with love'. ...

    and fire (warm love). This therefore backs up the principle of love and hate linked between one-another and being together at all times, one behind the other. It's almost like love is to be fated with hate and vice versa, 'I fear, too early, for my minds misgives Some consequence,

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work